Act I, Scene 1: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How does Shakespeare use humor in the opening scene?

2. A pun is a play on words, two words that sound alike but have different meanings. Find two examples of puns in the opening lines of the scene.

3. How does Shakespeare show the political conflict in Rome?

4. What is the reason the cobbler tells Flavius and Marullus he is leading the people through the street?

5. What is the real reason the people are out in the street?

6. What about Pompey is revealed in this scene?

7. What information is given about Caesar?

8. How does the scene show the fickleness of the crowd?

9. Shakespeare often uses comparisons (metaphor and simile) and figurative language. What is the comparison Flavius makes in the final lines of the scene?

10. What are the intentions of Flavius and Marullus as the scene ends?

Answers
1. His characters pun, or play with word meanings. They use words that sound alike but have different meanings.

2. The word “cobbler” has two meanings, shoemaker and bungler. A “mender of bad soles” is a reference to shoemaker. This is a play on the word “souls.” An awl is a leather punch. It is used with the word “all.” Recover means to repair, as in repair shoes. Recover also means to get better as from an illness.

3. He does this by opening the play with a confrontation between the tribunes and the citizens, two opposing forces in Rome.

4. The cobbler wants them to wear out their shoes so he will get more work.

5. They are out to see Caesar and rejoice in his triumph.

6. Pompey was once loved and respected by the people of Rome.

7. Caesar was responsible for Pompey’s death.

8. Flavius and Marullus are able to change the mind of the crowd with their words and convince them to disperse.

9. He compares Caesar to a bird. Driving the crowd from the street will be like plucking feathers from a bird’s wing so it can not fly high.

10. They plan to go through the streets and pull down any banners that honor Caesar.